"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Friday, July 07, 2006


Don't Let Your Passions Pass You "Bye"!

Day Five of Seven
July 7, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Connie Pombo

In December of last year on a cold and blustery Thursday afternoon in a small café, I met with "Ellen" (not her real name). She sat across the table from me twisting her paper napkin with pursed lips. I broke the silence! “So, how’s your new book coming along? I wasn’t prepared for what I heard next: “Writing was my passion; I don’t write anymore!" Did she say, "Was?" (I’m not an English major, but that’s PAST TENSE—that means not present—not future—PAST; it is no longer!) I swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and paused before I spoke (very difficult for the Popular Sanguine Personality to do—ask Katherine Robbins). And then I asked, “You mean you don’t even write your mother?” She smiled, the corners of her mouth widened into a grin, and we “both” started laughing!

How did “Ellen” let her “passion” pass her “bye”? Let me paint a picture for you: Ten years ago, I would wake up at 7:00 a.m. sharp, to a blaring alarm clock, grab a piece of burnt toast, and rush out the door. I listened to NPR, the weather report, and put on make-up in the car (I still do that!), and then tried to beat the next person in line for the closest parking space to the office door. After work, I jumped in the car, got in the fast lane, headed for the gym, and waited—with my foot tapping—for the first available treadmill. I hit the red button for 30 minutes, and ran as fast I could until my heart reached its “peak” target rate, jumped off, didn’t acknowledge anyone in the gym, and speeded home. I fixed dinner, cleaned up, listened to “NBC Nightly News” for five minutes, and went to bed! I never saw a sunrise; never admired a sunset, and I couldn’t tell you what flowers were blooming! (This weekend: Rent the movie, “Ground Hog Day,” and watch it over and over and over again—until you FINALLY get it!)

That was ten years ago! Today, I let my body wake me up (usually around 7:30 a.m.) as the morning’s rays filter through our bedroom window. I don’t need an alarm clock (unless I have to catch an early morning flight—Ugh!). My body wakes me up. I pour a hot cup of hazelnut cream coffee, walk outside, and see what new portrait has been painted on the canvas of dirt (all from a packet of “wildflower” seeds, bought from the Dollar Store). My blooming extravaganza includes: California poppies, baby’s breath, and an array of purple, yellow, pink, orange and fuchsia flowers. I know they all have names, but I don’t care to know them all! I just enjoy watching them blow gently in the breeze—a symphony of color! I pick off the dead ones, brush away the beetles, and talk to the flowers and say, “You are so pretty today; keep standing straight and tall—don’t let last night’s storm get you down!” Before you reach for the phone and call the “National Mental Health Association’s Hotline,” read on . . .

Ten years ago, I could repeat the weather report verbatim: 87 for a high, low 58, light winds from the north, and a chance of rain. Now I feel the warm sun against my face, the gentle breeze in my hair, and the dew on the grass with my bare feet. I look up at the blue sky with white fluffy clouds and say, “What a beautiful day!”

Ten years ago, after work, I jumped on the treadmill and watched the LCD screen until I reached my target heart rate. Today, I usually walk or jog OUTSIDE at a healthy pace, unless it’s raining (I go to the gym!). I often stop—more than once—to smell the flowers and soak in the warm sunshine.

Ten years ago, I never noticed a sunrise or sunset, now I’m a sunset chaser! I actually keep a “throw-away” camera in the glove compartment of the car, pull off the side of the road, and watch the red fireball in the sky float down below the horizon, casting off hues of orange and yellow, until it totally disappears. It takes just a few seconds and it’s gone. Another portrait in the sky captured on film!

You know what’s interesting? I’m busier now than ever before! I have more on my plate at fifty than I did when I was twenty-five. I have deadlines, speaking engagements, articles to write, e-mails to answer, laundry to fold, and dishes to wash. But here’s the difference: I have learned to set priorities: God, family, friends, and then ministry! Get a copy of the book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (I’m so glad I read it—thank you Carolyn Ruch!). I have learned to say, “No.” If it’s not on my passionate to-do list, and I don’t have a green light from God; it’s “no” for now—maybe forever! I don’t keep a perfect house because people are more valuable than things! Do I always keep on task? “No!” Do I ever miss a deadline? “Yes!” Do I always get it right? “Absolutely not!” Am I passionate about what I do? “Without question!”

Recently, I spoke to a group of cancer survivors at the"Weekend of Hope". My favorite audience is a group of “survivors.” You know why? They get it! They don’t have to watch “Ground Hog Day” over and over again! They nod in affirmation while I’m speaking because we’re all on the same page!

In May, from the Salzburg Suite (compliments of the von Trapp Family Lodge), I set my alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. Where’s the sun? I waited until 5:45 a.m. Okay, that's it; I’m going back to bed! And then it happened: a gorgeous palette of purples, blues, and yellows filled the sky! The sun crept ever so slowly over the green mountains of Vermont, while I hummed the tune: “Here comes the sun . . . dah-dah-dah-dah!" It was a rare moment; I don’t get up that early! I had to speak later that morning and I knew by nightfall, I would be exhausted. But do I regret rising to see such a spectacular creation of God’s pure majesty? Never!

Remember: Don’t let your passions pass you “bye”!

Thought for the Day: "That it will never come again, is what makes life so sweet." —Emily Dickinson

From God’s Word: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, NIV).

Tomorrow: Passing it on . . .

Living Life Passionately!

Connie Pombo
My Blog: Living Passionately!

P.S. We'd love to hear from you! Remember to post your comments for an opportunity to win FREE BOOKS at our monthly drawing.
Thanks Connie, for the important reminder to enjoy life along the way. It's easy to forget sometimes! We (I suppose I should go ahead and admit it, "I") try to fit way too many things into a day. One thing's for sure, we can't rush a sunrise... I suppose it's the "choleric" in me, but even us cholerics can learn to "be still before the Lord," right??? All we have to do is let our Lord do the leading.
Your ever loving U-Turn sister,
Ps. 23:2,3

Isn't it amazing when we're "watching and waiting" for the sun to rise, it takes its time. But when we're trying to find our camera, it's up already! The sunset gives me a little more time--sometimes! Thank you for all your great comments this week!

Blessings and Hugs,

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